Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Somnambulistic Banality of The DaVinci Code & the Emergence of a New Anti-Gnostic Movement

Many years ago, in the 1980s, I was invited to a pre-screening of the controversial movie about Jesus by Martin Scorcese called “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Prior to going to the showing I read Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel upon which the movie was based. In my research I found out that Kazantzakis was interpreting Jesus through the eyes of Freud and the panentheistic philosopher Henri Bergson. The result was a ridiculous portrait of Jesus, who appears as a man who hasn’t a clue as to why he exists and his great triumph is resisting having sex with Mary Magdalene.

My fears about people seeing this movie and getting the wrong impression were relieved as I sat through one of the most boring movies I have ever watched. It was all I could do to stay awake during it. My greatest fear became, not that others would watch it, but that I would be found snoring loudly at the pre-screening.

The early reviews of “The DaVinci Code” remind me of my “Last Temptation” experience. Apparently DVC is so long and boring that this is what it will be remembered for, or forgotten for. “DaVinci” got dissed, even “jeering laughter,” at the Cannes Film Festival. From the website Rotten Tomatoes (which is the place to go to access all the main movie critics) the quotes that are coming in about DVC include: “an oppressively talky film that isn’t exactly dull, but comes as close to it as one could imagine with such provocative material”; “a lifeless adaptation”; “an overblown so-so suspense flick”; “an unwieldy, bloated melodrama”; “overblown and dare I say occasionally boring”; and so on.

It remains to be seen if audiences will be at all interested in Gnosticism after seeing “DaVinci.” Perhaps a new movement of anti-Gnostic thinking will emerge as a reaction to DVC’s somnambulistic banality?